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6th April 2016

BGC APDs survive early scare; Samurai's Nate Ebner touches down

Former All Blacks scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan on the run for BGC Asia Pacific Dragons against Devils Own Shanghai Rugby.


BGC Asia Pacific Dragons almost embarrassed by 12th seeds A-Trade Overseas Old Boys, Nate Ebner scores for Samurai, while debutants Projecx Waterboys and King’s College at UQ upset seedings to move into Cup quarters

April 6, 2016: Top seeds BGC Asia Pacific Dragons survived a scare against 12th seeds A-Trade Overseas Old Boys before topping Pool A and continuing their quest to win a fourth GFI HKFC 10s title in five years.

The APDs beat Devils Own Shanghai Rugby 48-0, but then found themselves a try down against Overseas Old Boys, having been reduced to nine men early in the match following a yellow card for former All Blacks scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan.

An Apete Daveta try and Emosi Vucago conversion gave the defending champions a 7-5 lead before an Old Boys side featuring former New Zealand Sevens player Zar Lawrence almost pulled off the win with an attempted drop goal, which sailed wide.

The APDs restored their confidence in their final pool match by beating Irish Vikings 31-0 to the relief of captain Isaac Ross, one of three former All Blacks in the team along with Cowan and towering prop Carl Hayman.

“We had a champagne win in the first game against the Shanghai team, but we had a bit of a scare against the Overseas Old Boys,” said the 31-year-old Ross, who earned eight caps for the All Blacks before moving to play in Japan’s Top League in 2011.

“They came out firing and were really gunning for us. We need those sort of games to get us ready for day two. We executed well in game three and we’re really proud of the way the guys bounced back.”

The 2012, 2014 and 2015 champions will play seventh seeds Taikoo Place Scottish Exiles in the Cup quarter-finals, while second seeds Tradition YCAC topped Pool B and will face Old Boys, who upset eighth seeds Irish Vikings 5-0 in their Pool A opener.

Nate Ebner, the 2015 Super Bowl champion trying to secure a place in the USA Sevens side for this year’s Olympics, scored a try in Samurai’s 33-5 win over Projecx as he impressed on his first day of competitive rugby since 2011.

Mike Friday, head coach of USA Sevens, was among those in the stands keeping an eye on the 27-year-old, who recently took a leave of absence from the New England Patriots to pursue his Olympic dream.

“I always like to come to the 10s, just because it’s a great event first and foremost. It’s a phenomenally competitive tournament and it’s a bit special for us this year because we’ve got an eye on Nate Ebner, one of our up-and-coming Eagles,” Friday said.

“He’s trying to make the transition from Super Bowl winner to compete in the Olympics this year and this is stage one of his rugby comeback, so to speak. He’s done well, some good positional work in his defence and he’s gone over for a try, so I’ve been pretty impressed with what Nate’s done today.”

The fourth-seeded Samurai topped Pool D after two wins and a 12-12 draw against Kir Club Pyrenees in the day’s final match, while third seeds Penguins topped Pool C with three wins.

Debutants Projecx Waterboys from Scotland and King’s College at The University of Queensland both upset higher-seeded opponents in their pools to reach the Cup quarters.

Projecx, seeded ninth, upset fifth seeds Pyrenees 12-7 in their opening Pool D match, while King’s College beat sixth seeds UBB Gavekal 19-0 and CRFA Gladiators 31-12 in Pool C on their way to securing a place in the last eight.

Renowned as the world’s best annual 10-a-side tournament, the GFI HKFC 10s has long attracted the game’s top players including seven of the New Zealand team who won the 2015 Rugby World Cup – Conrad Smith, Jerome Kaino, Ben Smith, Beauden Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Sam Cane and Charlie Faumuina.

Along with GFI, other sponsors in 2016 include Allied World, Natixis and Rugby Pass (gold sponsors), DHL, Q-Net, Swire Properties and Withers (silver), Cashmaster, CBRE, CPA Global, EY, Markel, Structure Tone and Tricor (bronze), Pure Blonde (official beer), Highland Spring (official water) and Tsunami (official apparel). Make-A-Wish Hong Kong is this year’s official charity.

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